Always loosing your house keys? Smart lock company, August may have just the solution.
Having just raised just under £26 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners – with participation from Comcast Ventures and Qualcomm Incorporated – through its investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures, August’s total funding now totals at over £33 million.
“Over the past two years, we’ve worked to deliver one of the most secure, intelligent ways to manage home access with the August Smart Lock and Connect, but this is just the entryway to a much larger vision,” comments co-founder Jason Johnson.
“With this new financing, our team will define a new product category in the smart home, aiming to solve what we call the ‘last five foot problem.’ There has always been talk of the ‘last mile problem’ of bringing trusted services into the home. With our smart lock, mobile Apps and cloud-based access control, we offer homeowners, property managers and guests a sophisticated and trusted way to control home access, bridging the gap between service providers and homeowners.”
How does the August Smart Lock work?
Compatible with iPhone and Android, the August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth low energy smart lock bringing together intelligent software and hardware to enable smartphones to replace keys.
August’s iOS and Android Apps let users send virtual keys to family, friends and others to provide access to their homes.
The way the Smart Lock works is to retrofit a homeowners’ existing Single-Cylinder deadbolt, allowing them to send a virtual key to anyone of their choice.
Guests then use their smartphone to gain access to the residence without the need to exchange physical keys.
The smart lock-owner can specify the duration that the August keys are active for before expiring, or can disable them at any time they wish.
What if a phone is lost or stolen or if the phone runs out of battery?
August is keen to point out that should a user loose their phone or if it is stolen, all they need do is log on to the August website and remove access authorisation for that particular device.
Unlike physical keys, August can be controlled virtually without the need to re-key a home dead-bolt.
For those concerned about battery life, August will always be able to accommodate a traditional key.
Alternatively, a user can also use a friend or neighbour’s phone, download the App, log on with their password, open the door and exit the App.
What do you get?
An August system consists of a small, easy-to-install smart lock device and a mobile App.
Analogue lovers needn’t worry – with August they can still use physical keys and manually unlock or lock a door from the inside.
Read on to see how safe it is…
Is it safe?
The manufacturer assures customers that it is.
August relies on the same secure communications technology used by financial institutions for online banking, ensuring that only invited guests have access to properties and that changes take effect immediately.
With August, the user can clearly define when and for how long visitors are authorised to open the lock.
Unlike physical keys that can be duplicated and distributed without the owner’s knowledge, an August lock allows the user to closely manage who has access to multiple properties and to accurately track who has actually been there, when and for how long.
Crucially, should a stranger approach the user’s front door, the door will not automatically unlock.
The auto-unlock feature is also optional and can be disabled at any time, depending on the user’s behaviour and use pattern.
The August Smart Lock goes further by using proprietary techniques to mitigate false unlocks from the interior side of the door.
How is August installed?
The August Smart Lock is installed on the interior side of a door by removing the existing thumb latch and attaching the Smart Lock to the deadbolt.
August claims that the installation process takes less than 10 minutes and requires nothing more than a screwdriver.
There is no need to re-key or permanently modify an existing lock system.
August removes no pre-existing mechanical functionality of a deadbolt, it only adds intelligent features.
This means that homeowners can still use their physical keys so can still manually unlock or lock a door from the inside.
How does August Connect complete the package?…
What is August Connect?
More recently, the company released a new hardware device, Connect, which works alongside the August Smart Lock, providing it with a WiFi connection that enables remote access to the home and integration with other smart devices.
August Connect plugs into any power outlet near an August Smart Lock and uses the user’s home’s WiFi and Internet connection to control the August Smart Lock.
With August Connect, a user can unlock or lock their door for guests, check a lock’s status and can receive instant notifications from anywhere through the August App.
To optimise August Connect’s always-on connection, one August Connect is needed for each August Smart Lock.
August Connect should be installed within 30 feet of the August Smart Lock, although the manufacturer recommends within 15 feet for optimal performance and reliability.
What happens when there is an Internet or power outage?
The August Smart Lock is powered by four AA batteries and does not require a WiFi connection and will continue to function via Bluetooth even if the power goes out.
At any time, the homeowner will still be able to open their deadbolt with a traditional key. Remote operation with August Connect will not continue to function without a WiFi connection.
Will August work on your door?
The August Smart Lock is designed to be compatible with Single-Cylinder deadbolts, but not with Mortise or Euro-style cylinders.
Compatible locks can be found at the end of the article.
Measurements and cost
The August Smart Lock is approximately 3 1/4 inches in diameter, centred over an existing deadbolt hole and less than 2 1/4 inches tall.
The August Smart Lock can be ordered for £167.29 at August.com, Amazon.com or an Apple store, while August Connect can be pre-ordered for £33.45 at August.com and Amazon.com.
There will be no monthly or usage fees for accessing the August key management service.
“Access control and security bring convenience and peace of mind to the digital home,” says Rob Stavis, who will join August’s board of directors.
“Jason, Yves and the team at August have the right set of hardware, software, design and integration skills to realise this vision and extend in-home offerings in unexpected ways.”